Sony has revealed the first batch of games coming to PlayStation Plus Premium, and it's pretty dang okay. With so many legendary titles in Sony's back catalogue, it's easy to look at the list and pick out the games that are notably absent. The three titles I most associate with the halcyon days of drinking Sunny D, eating e-numbered blue Smarties, and losing hours to my PS1 are Tomb Raider, Spyro, and Crash. The latter two are soon to be owned by Xbox, while the former was just bought by Embracer Group, which may or may not be factors in why they're not included. In any case, the best game to play is the one you've never played, or better yet, never even heard of.
Those three titles are just exceptions I've found to the rule. A lot of what we might call 'classics' are notably absent (GTA, also not present), and while more titles will be added, it's a testament to Sony's enormous back catalogue that there are still a lot of all-time greats in there. Although many of the games in the roster are already on PS Now, a big reason Sony is relaunching its service is because PS Now remains relatively unpopular. That means a lot of people are going to be experiencing this selection for the first time, and that might be a disorienting feeling at first. Which of your old favourites do you try first? The correct answer is 'none of them'.
For one thing, they might not be as good as you remember. There's a reason Crash & Spyro packed their three original games together for their comeback trail – old games are short and often quite thin. When it's a fresh experience, especially one that's essentially free, that's less of a factor, but when it's an old game you've painted to be legendary in your head, it just might not live up to it.
That's a minor detail though – maybe Ape Escape and Syphon Filter really are as good as you remember. A much more important reason to try something new is simply because you can. When you look at the first party games from the PS4 & PS5 eras, you'll see a lot of safe bets. Similar titles with similar conventions and similar themes, all made in similar ways making similar giant sacks of money. In the sepia-toned days of the PS3 and beyond, PlayStation took a lot more risks. Tokyo Jungle, for example, is part of the line-up, and while it's not as iconic as Uncharted or Red Dead Redemption, few games capture the spirit of the PS3 better than the Japan Studio cult hit.
Your favourite games are great. I trust you completely. You say Dark Cloud is amazing, I'll smile and nod. But you've played those games before. When PlayStation Plus Premium drops, you need to take the opportunity to sample the games you missed out on the first time. I love Jak, Ratchet, and Enslaved, as well as the obvious big hitters like Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted, The Last of Us, Assassin's Creed, and God of War. But I never got around to Wild Arms, Jumping Flash, or Infamous. Hell, I've never even played Ico. There might be a few gaps in Sony's line-up, but it has more than enough offerings to plug the holes in your backlog too.
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